Chris Weidman is set to take on middleweight champion and pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva at UFC 162.
The bout will stand as Silva’s 11th title defense and his 16th fight inside the legendary UFC Octagon.
During this run, Silva cemented himself as the greatest fighter in UFC history.
His punches and kicks are brutal, and his knees are even more deadly. Put “The Spider” on his back, and he will entangle you in a web of limbs, forcing you to tap out.
Oh, and his defensive skills?
In all, Silva is a nightmarish opponent for any fighter. He can literally end the fight at any time from anywhere, and his overall skill set may be the most impressive in MMA history.
But Chris Weidman can beat him.
Styles make fights, and Weidman’s style is perfectly imperfect for Silva.
Firstly, Weidman is the most talented wrestler in the middleweight division.
One can look at past accomplishments all day (and Weidman’s pedigree is quite spectacular), but his application of wrestling techniques inside the UFC Octagon is unmatched by other 185-pound fighters.
When Weidman wants to take a fight to the ground, he will take it there.
Making matters worse for Silva, Weidman is an accomplished grappler with dangerous submissions.
“He’s just a purple belt!” you say?
If you think that is something to scoff at, go roll with a purple belt and let me know how you do— I anxiously await your detailed and excuse-ridden response.
Despite his comparatively low rank in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Silva is a black belt in the discipline, after all), Weidman is a fearsome foe for the champ once the fight hits the mat.
He has finished two opponents via submission inside the Octagon, and he has competed with legendary opponents in outside BJJ competitions.
With his dominant wrestling base and ever-expanding skill set on the ground, I would not be surprised to see Weidman defeat Silva in a straight-up grappling competition despite the ranking gap.
Ahh, but this isn’t a grappling tournament, is it? It’s a fist fight! And Silva’s fists are the best in the business.
Unfortunately for Silva, his eight-limbed attack will prove worthless on the ground, and that is where Weidman will pin him.
Sure, every fight starts on the feet, but Silva is notoriously cautious in the beginning of fights, and I fully expect Weidman to take him down immediately.
Can he finish the job once it gets there?
Of course he can. Chael Sonnen famously worked Silva over in his UFC 117 encounter with Silva, and Weidman’s ground-and-pound is more ferocious, and his submissions are more refined.
He is essentially Sonnen on (more) steroids, and that is a scary thought for Silva.
Look, any time Silva steps into the cage, I lean his way. He is the greatest fighter in UFC history, and the way he tools opponents on a regular basis is cartoonish.
I am honored to have witnessed his run and his subsequent stay atop the middleweight division rankings, but this is a terrible fight for him.
If Weidman remains confident in his abilities and doesn’t get caught up in Silva’s aura and his taunting, clowning ways, he can do what Sonnen did to Silva, only better.
He can win this fight.
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